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Not entirely irredeemable, but Kelsey Grammar may be the most amateurish screen Scrooge of them all
on 17 May 2011
Having already made one decent enough version of Dickens' perennial tale with Patrick Stewart, kings of the mini-series Hallmark took a second bite of the Christmas pudding with 2004's A Christmas Carol - The Musical, though it's the audience that's left with indigestion. It's not the first version to take liberties with the plot, this time replacing Scrooge's unhappy childhood with Dickens' own, but Lynn Ahrens' script is as messy as her lyrics and Alan Menken's music isn't always good enough to compensate for their banality (it's certainly not another Beauty and the Beast or Little Mermaid despite his involvement). But far more than turning the Ghost of Christmas Past into a scantily-clad Jane Krakowski pole-dancing around Scrooge's four-poster bed as part of a `reimagining' of the three spirits, the thing that really hobbles it is the colossal miscasting of the lead, with Kelsey Grammer's atrociously amateurish display of staggeringly bad overacting bidding fair to be the worst screen Ebenezer Scrooge ever, leaving the film with a huge hole in its heart. Arthur Allan Seidelman's uncertain direction and the poor editing of the already slightly under-rehearsed choreography do it few favors either, though somehow the power of the story does win through and some moments - generally the ones where Grammer is kept firmly on the sidelines out of harm's way - manage to work regardless. But you're still better off sticking to the Albert Finney musical version.
The only extra is a trailer.